Frequently Asked Questions
All questions and answers used with permission from Kernza.org
Farmers produce Kernza® grain for a wide range of reasons, including environmental and soil health benefits. One farmer stated that his favorite reason for growing Kernza® was the habitat that it provided for bobwhite quail. Others are attracted to the ease of controlling weeds without herbicides or tillage (once the stand is established). Some farms with integrated livestock value the chance to obtain forage and a cash grain crop from the same field. For others, it’s the excitement of participating in something really new, and having the potential to reap economic benefits if they can be successful early adopters. Evidence is building that Kernza® grain can increase soil carbon, a key driver of soil health. Healthy soils benefit the farmer by helping them maintain their productivity and profitability in the long term, and in some regions there is the possibility of obtaining direct payments from carbon offsets to farmers that increase soil carbon. Healthy soils benefit the rest of us by giving us access to the most basic public goods – clean air, clean water, and nutritious food.
No. Kernza® grain has gluten, but it is not as strong as the gluten in wheat flour.
Nutritional profiles have been done by private entities, University of Minnesota, and The Land Institute. This information has not been published in a journal, but we hope to have this type of data available to the general public in the coming years. In general, vitamin, mineral, and amino acid profiles are somewhat similar to wheat, with only a few striking differences.
Kernza® yields vary depending on environmental and management conditions. Research yields can top 1,000 lbs/acre, but production acres have lower yields, ranging from less than 100 lbs/acre up to 500 lbs/acre. As new varieties are developed and management techniques refined, we expect yields to rise and become more stable.
The Kernza® seed supply has been a limiting factor in placing acres, so we are currently asking that growers commit twenty or more acres to the crop. In several years, we hope that the seed supply will stabilize and growers of all scales will be able to participate, whether they choose to become licensed growers or just want to grow for personal use.